Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

The Best Place in Sports

Posted by mizzou1028 on June 3, 2008

Over the years I have had the opportunity to witness games in a variety of stadiums around the country.  Granted, there are many that I have not been to, but I have been to quite a few.  Of all the places I have watched a game, not one of them comes even close to matching the experience at Wrigley Field.  Last weekend I had the privilege of attending my sixth game in what is known as the friendly confines, and it was every bit as special as the first one 10 years ago.  This despite the fact that my Rockies managed to lose their sixth straight and looked nothing like the NL champions from a year ago. 

Wrigley Field has been around since 1914, so that alone makes it unique on the sports landscape amidst all the luxury boxes and club level seating and suites that adorn the sports landscape today.  Among the features of this venerable park are the manual operated scoreboard above the center field bleachers.  Just the sight of this scoreboard makes me realize I am in baseball heaven.  The linescore of every game is on the board, so fans won’t miss a thing going on around baseball.  Above the scoreboard one will find a flag representing every team in the National League, arranged in order of the current standings.  After the game, these are replaced with a “W” or “L” depending on the fate of the Cubs of that day.  The outfield walls are lined with ivy, another feature unique to the park and one that makes it the most beautiful outfield in the Major Leagues.  Then there is the fact that every seat, even in the nosebleed sections, is close to the action, giving the ballpark an intimate feel, hence the name friendly confines. 

During the game fans aren’t subjected to annoying jukebox promotions, scoreboard races featuring trash trucks or who knows what, or any of the extra fluff that takes away from the fact you’re at a baseball game.  The only music comes from the organist, and particularly during a day game adds to the charm of the experience.  The place is a shrine to baseball, and there is nothing extra curricular going on to take you away from the game you’re there to see.  The seventh inning stretch rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame is without a doubt the best in baseball, for it is still the only place I’ve been to where 40,000 people actually join in and sing.  The fans are also always into the game, with one of the more notable behaviors being the throwing back of opposing team home run balls onto the field. 

It’s not just the inside of the ballpark that makes Wrigley special.  The old neighborhood around Wrigley adds to the ballpark’s charm.  Take a pregame walk outside and you’ll find more sports bars than you’ve ever seen in your life, many with creative signage to lend support to the Cubs or promote fan spirit.  A walk around the outside of Wrigley Field also allows fans to really take in the unique charm of the ballpark.  Fans driving by or walking on Waveland or Sheffield Avenues can easily see the manual scoreboard and peak into the ballpark.  The home plate entrance features the signature red sign “Wrigley Field Home of Chicago Cubs.”  Everything from the vendors selling t-shirts to the statues of Ernie Banks and Harry Caray screams baseball.  Throw in the fact that the Cubs are one of the most loveable teams in baseball, a team virtually everyone wants to see do well since they haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and you have a truly unique baseball gameday atmosphere. 

To be frank, my descriptions here really can’t do it justice.  If you’ve been to Wrigley, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, you need to go.  Immediately.  No sooner had i sat down in my seat on Saturday and looked around, taking in the atmosphere, did I think about when I could get back, and that was BEFORE they had even announced the starting lineups.  Wrigley Field is baseball as it should be, and that’s reason enough to rank it the top stadium in sports.  Frankly it’s not even close. 

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